Retired Ravens lineman Tony Siragusa dies at age 55, remembered fondly: ‘He was our leader’

Retired Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa, known affectionately as "Goose," passed away at 55 years old.

It’s a sad day for the Baltimore Ravens. Hours after the AFC North franchise announced the death of outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson, it was announced that legendary retired defensive tackle Tony Siragusa, known affectionately as “Goose,” passed away at 55 years old.

Retired Baltimore Ravens lineman Tony Siragusa passes away at 55

A former FOX sideline reporter known for his sense of humor and colorful style, Siragusa played in the NFL for 12 seasons. He was a fun-loving, outspoken personality known for joking around with his teammates and reporters.

He was fiercely protective of his fellow players, famously refusing to play on a poorly maintained artificial surface at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia in a preseason game that was canceled partially due to his efforts and other NFL Players Association representatives.

“Tony was legendary,” former teammate Brad Jackson said in a telephone interview. “He was a great man. He treated everyone the same. It’s crazy. He was the leader, he was our captain. He meant everything to everyone. It’s a sad day. I just talked to him on Sunday. It’s terrible.”

“Goose was quite a character, but he was one of our leaders on the 2000 Super Bowl team,” Ravens executive vice president and former general manager Ozzie Newsome said. “He was probably one of the best run-stoppers to play for our defense over the years. My heart breaks for Kathy, Samantha, Anthony Jr. and Ava. They are in my prayers.”

Siragusa earned a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens in 2000 on one of the top defenses in NFL history. Along with equally massive defensive tackle Sam Adams, Siragusa (6-foot-4, 340 pounds) anchored the middle of the Ravens’ defense and kept blockers away from Hall of Fame LB Ray Lewis and other impactful defenders.

“It was an honor and a privilege to line up next to Tony Siragusa,” Adams said. “He made the game fun and was a true competitor. Our D-line room was special on and off the field. May he rest easy, and may God bless and keep his family.”

Siragusa, who hosted a home renovation program called Man Caves on the DIY Network, also played for the Indianapolis Colts. The New Jersey native was a state wrestling champion in Kenilworth, NJ, who went 97-1 in high school. He played defensive line and was also the punter and kicker.

Siragusa earned a scholarship to Pitt, where he was a starter who overcame a torn ACL. He ultimately went undrafted but signed with the Colts and earned a starting job. He signed with the Ravens in 1997 and emerged as a key figure for the defense. In 2000, Siragusa started 15 games, recording 27 tackles and one fumble recovery as the Ravens allowed the fewest points in NFL history.

“First of all, my deepest condolences to Tony’s family,” former Ravens defensive coordinator and Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “With Tony as a friend and teammate, you needed no other. He played and lived life to the fullest. He always reminded me to ‘have fun.’ This is a very sad day.”

Siragusa was fined $10,000 for an illegal hit on Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, injuring his shoulder in the AFC championship game and knocking him out of the game. The Ravens went on to beat the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV.

“I am sorry to lose such a great teammate and friend,” retired Ravens kicker Matt Stover said. “I truly believe that the Super Bowl XXXV team would have never been as good as it was without Tony. He not only plugged up the middle, but his locker room presence created a loose environment when things were tight. He will be missed, but not forgotten.”

Siragusa retired after the 2001 season, finishing his career with 562 tackles, 22 sacks, five forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, and 28 pass deflections in 170 career games. He is survived by his wife, Kathy, and their three children, Samantha, Ava, and Anthony Jr.

Reaction around the league

  • “This is a tough one,” said Hall of Fame middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who lined up behind Siragusa on a record-setting defense. “I love Goose like a brother. From the first day we met, I knew that life was different. I knew he was someone who would change my life forever. He was a one-of-a-kind person who made you feel important and special. You can never replace a man like that. On the field, he was the ultimate competitor who brought out the best in all of us. We should never put off tomorrow for what we can do today. Hug your loved ones for Goose. We were all so blessed that God gave us that time together celebrating our 2000 team a few weeks ago. To the Siragusa family: We have lost a great man, but God has gained a great angel. May they be blessed, held and comforted by the peace he brought to everyone who encountered him.”
  • “There was no one like Goose – a warrior on the field and a team unifier with a giving, generous heart who helped teammates and the community more than most people know,” former Ravens coach Brian Billick said. “We would not have won the Super Bowl without him. This is such stunning, sad news, and our hearts go out to Kathy and the Siragusa family.”
  • “Tony was always the life of the party,” Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson said. “I know he loved his family and friends. My feelings are overwhelmed right now with grief for his family.”
  • “Renee and I are stunned and heartbroken to learn about the sudden passing of Tony Siragusa,” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said in a statement. “He was a special person and clearly one of the most popular players in Ravens history. Tony’s larger-than-life personality made an enormous impact on our organization and throughout the Baltimore community. On the football field, Goose was a difference-maker who contributed immeasurably to the success of many great Ravens defenses, including the record-setting 2000 Super Bowl team. Our deepest prayers and sympathies go out to Kathy, their three children and the rest of the Siragusa family. This is a tremendously sad day for the Baltimore Ravens. We appreciate everyone who has expressed an outpouring of support for our players, coaches and staff.”

Aaron Wilson is the NFL Insider for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL.

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